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MTSU Students Help With Habitat Build

The Future Homeowner Says it is a ‘Dream Come True’

Each year, students from Middle Tennessee State University roll up their sleeves and help Habitat for Humanity change the lives of a deserving family. In a recent panel build, students and volunteers came together to start work that will become the walls of a home for an Aramark staff member who has been a familiar face on campus for more than 15 years. 

“To know the students have volunteered their time to come help me build my daughter and me a home, it makes it feel like a family instead of a workplace. I am grateful for each and every one of them,” said home recipient Frederica.   

Since 2006, MTSU has partnered with the nonprofit organization to help build homes, panel walls and help raise funds for the community.   

“You want students to be connected to the institution, but you want them to be connected to their community and the people they’re around,” Jackie Victory, director for student organizations and service, said. “Students know what it means to be ‘True Blue’ and what it means to be a member of MTSU. The hope is that when they move on and go on and do all these great things, they remember those little things that they did, and it brings back good memories for them so that they want to continue to be a part of MTSU later on.”  

Victory, who has worked at MTSU for 25 years, said the fact this particular panel build will soon change the life of a person who works on MTSU’s campus makes it even more special.   

“It couldn’t have been more perfectly matched, to be honest - that Frederica was selected as a homeowner for Habitat, and that MTSU is doing it makes it much cooler,” she said.  “There are a lot of our students, first generation college students, that have had difficult times in their own lives, and those are the students who want to give back the most because they’ve been there. It just opens up the door for conversations about homelessness and different things like that.” 

To qualify for a Habitat home, the future homeowner completes 50 hours of financial literacy and homeowner education to prepare them to buy their home and be a successful homeowner. They also complete 250 partnership hours where they help build their own home and others in the neighborhood.   

“Through the Habitat program, the homeowner will pay $800 to $900 per month for their mortgage to buy their home,” explained Melissa Cross, marketing and development director for the Rutherford County area Habitat for Humanity. “The impact of homeownership for the family and the community is great. Our families work for hospitals and health care services, schools, manufacturers, food preparation services, retail and big box stores, shipping and logistics companies, banks, and many industries that Middle Tennesseans rely on.”  

Frederica’s new home will be near campus, with around 20 other homes in the neighborhood, and is expected to be finished next year.  

Students know what it means to be ‘True Blue’ and what it means to be a member of MTSU.

“This is just a feeling that I cannot even put into words because this is really a dream come true, and I’m just so forever grateful for everything,” Frederica says, adding, “I look forward to a safe place for me and my daughter to come home to, the neighborhood building equity, more family time and hosting holidays and game nights.”   

  • Frederica (center)